One of the best things about being an indieview reviewer is that you get requests for all sorts of stuff, the sort of things you might not ordinarily consider picking up. This one and the one I am about to read, might both qualify in that category. This is a short novella, around 17,000 words, but bulked out with a lot of illustrations. There’s no harm in trying something a little different.
It starts with an intriguing prologue that is written rather like an internal monologue – it’s kind of disturbing in a roundabout sort of way, reflective and brutal so I was hooked from page one of this short novella. The internal monologue tone carries on. The first person narrative works well for the story and you will immediately find yourself drawn into the place and the characters despite at face value not having a lot of depth. It is the personal way in which it is told that really makes this work – as well as the rich flowery and carefully chosen words. The language isn’t flowery, but it does feel carefully crafted to instil emotion into the reader in a specific way. Again, I must come back to that word “personal” – we feel like voyeurs.
It is a tale of love – Jack works in a surf shop and loves Karen who is a lifeguard. He thinks of her often and he sees her on the beach, around town and everywhere else that he would expect to see her. But Karen is dead, she killed herself years ago but Jack feels that somebody is responsible – Old Man Manson of the rock band they went to see the night she died. And Jack intends to kill him.
It is visceral, haunting and very engaging and the images add a dash of the visceral even if they are not visceral in themselves (they are rather juvenile, and it seems deliberately so). I wasn’t so keen on the plot and I cared little for the characters and to be honest, I’m not sure it is supposed to matter. If you like your fiction offbeat then this will be for you. If you are strictly a reader of conventional horror then you probably won’t enjoy it.